Practicums in Population Health

The BSN Practicums in Population Health (BSN PoP) project supports and develops community based practicum experiences to prepare baccalaureate educated RNs to work in community and primary care settings following graduation. Through a Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), WCU School of Nursing (SON) is playing an active role in preparing nurses for the evolving field of healthcare and the new roles nurses will be required to fill within their scope. 

Jessie Carlson, ABSN Class of 2017


Healthcare services are moving towards payment based on outcomes. Alongside this movement comes emerging roles for nurses to fill. WCU's SON is helping to prepare nurses for these emerging roles as care managers for populations in primary and community care settings.
Through the BSN PoP Grant, the SoN has created an enhanced community and primary care clinical practicums for students interested in working in community settings. These practicums are offered to students during their Transition to Practice Course. The practicums offer students opportunities to work one on one with a nurse preceptor in a community setting to foster a deeper understanding of the skills and responsibilities necessary to be a community health nurse.

Preceptors and students are provided training on the Coordination and Care Transitions Model (CCTM) through online learning modules and sim lab scenarios. Students use this model to involve patients and their families in organizing the patient's care activities amongst other healthcare members.

These practicum experiences will also help prepare students to assist clients in navigating the maze of specialists, appointments, medications, and follow-up appointments. Students that have completed the course will have stronger skills related to care coordination activities.
Students will be encouraged to engage with the entire healthcare team at their clinical site including: interprofessional team meetings, developing and providing recommendations for clients' care plans, as well as identifying and locating needed resources. By participating students will gain a greater appreciation for social determinants of health, the need for interprofessional collaboration and gain enhanced skills in using data to help care for populations.
Another focus of these experiences is to help the student nurse learn about health care systems and processes and how to articulate the value of the RN care coordinator in supporting improved population health outcomes.

Community Partners

WCU SON has partnered with several community health agencies to act as clinical sites for nursing students participating in the program. At each clinical site a BSN prepared nurse preceptors works one on one with nursing students in the program. Nursing students participate in team-based discussions about patient care and work collaboratively with their preceptor, and the entire healthcare team to develop plans of care for the patients they serve. This team based approach is gaining more momentum as the evidence supports it's vitality towards to the primary care setting.


What nursing programs are ABLE to participate in this program?

  • ABSN
  • Traditional
  • RIBN

How can I participate in the program?

Students may apply for the program prior to theircommunity health course.

Faculty present information on the program and available clinical sites on advising day prior to registration for community health courses.

  • Practicum experiences are embedded in existing course curriculum courses. These courses vary by program (i.e. NSG 423, NSG 384, NSG 329 and NSG 421)

Where will I be placed for clinical practicum?

WCU is partnering with several community agencies to offer community practicums for students participating in the BSN PoP grant program.

What about transition to practice?

  • Course faculty will decide the percentage of time that a student will spend in community and acute care for their ttp.
  • Most of the students participating in the program complete 70% of their TTP in the community setting and 30% in acute care.

Will This lead to a job after graduation?

  • By participating in the program, students will be more prepared for work in community and primary care.
  • Students participating in the program will be recognized at graduation for completion of the program and can include their participation in their resume for both community and acute care jobs.
  • Students will develop skills related to the Care Coordination and Transition Management Model (CCTM)
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